EasyAir has served a £13 million High Court claim on Opal Telecom, part of the Carphone Warehouse Group, for breach of contract and is seeking recovery of financial damages.
EasyAir has issued a statement which is as follows:
“EasyAir Limited operated under the trading name of OpenAir, based near Crewe in Cheshire, as an O2 service provider developed class-leading applications for a number of vertical markets including market research. In 2003, OpenAir was recognised by the Market Research Society for its excellence in technical development, with their Accesspoint remote data acquisition service. At the same time, OpenAir also became one of the fastest growing UK mobile network service providers with high revenues from a customer base of around 10,000 users.
Towards the end of 2003, O2 gave notice that they were not going to re-new the licence for OpenAir to continue as an O2 mobile network service provider. It was necessary for OpenAir to dispose of their highly profitable subscriber base to another authorised O2 service provider and on the 30th April 2004 Opal Telecom, part of the Carphone Warehouse Group, acquired the OpenAir subscriber base for an undisclosed fee. At the same time, OpenAir entered into a dealer agreement with Opal Telecom, whereby Opal Telecom appointed OpenAir to promote and market the mobile telecommunications services offered by Opal Telecom and to solicit customers on behalf of Opal. The contract meant that OpenAir would continue to develop the subscriber base and receive a substantial percentage of the profits for the revenue stream, which were approximately £2.6million per annum. The contract was to have lasted for five years commencing in May 2004.
In August 2004, all revenues ceased to be paid to Openair, as Opal had removed network services for the subscriber base. It is the case of OpenAir that Opal was not entitled to effect the disconnections, and Opal Telecom was and is in breach of the contract, because it failed to provide network services to the Subscriber Base.
OpenAir is satisfied that they have substantiated a legally based claim against Opal Telecom, amounting to in excess of £13million (GBP). Anthony Lloyd-Weston, Managing Director at OpenAir said, “For the last three years we have had to put everything on hold, but meanwhile people have lost their jobs and livelihoods as a result of this action taken by Opal Telecom and the Carphone Warehouse. We have tried to get this resolved amicably to give our former employees something back that they deserve for building such an innovative company as OpenAir. There is an awful lot more that’s been said behind closed doors, that I can’t discuss at present, but enough talking has been done and we want to get on with our lives”
Having exhausted all opportunity to agree any sensible settlement OpenAir states that they are now left with little option other than to serve the formal claim for £13 million in financial damages caused by Opal Telecom breaches of the binding contracts between us and settle the matter in court
Lloyd-Weston went on to say, “There is no counter claim and never has it been suggested that there is one. Neither has Opal Telecom offered any tangible defence to the claim made by OpenAir or the evidence presented to support the claim.”